Salem recently relocated to New York from Orlando FL, she is happily married to her husband of 30 years with two wonderful children. She was born and raised on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad to Syrian parents. Being born in the Islands has its perks, namely, being immersed in her Arabic culture, as well as many different cultures and peoples. She credits her appreciation for music, art, languages, and culture to growing up in this culturally rich environment, which she feels gave her a keen sense of sensitivity to life and people. All of these have molded her into who she is today, and she will be the first to tell you how much she treasures being in such a varying and colorful environment through childhood.
After moving to the US, she got her first taste for the arts playing violin, singing and theatre which was the best way to transition into the new country she would call home. She took a break from it to attend college where she earned her business degree; however, the arts were never too far from her mind. She quickly realized it was more than a way to get assimilated into a culture and find her place in America. She grew to understand the power film and television have to affect change on a wide scale.
She enjoys acting in film and television, producing and writing. She will be the first to tell you that you can take the girl out of the island, but you can’t take the island out of the girl. And with that island take on life, she continues to enjoy navigating life, family, and her career bringing the same openness, excitement, and acuteness to her world as from childhood.
Novy Talent Group: You are currently in the process of moving from Florida to New York! What made you want to relocate?
Salem Murphy: Well, truth be told is my husband, Steve’s transfer to Newark. I’ve always wanted to experience New York, so we are both benefiting.
NTG: Your commercial booking ratio is INCREDIBLE. Do you have any pointers on the commercial audition process?
SM: I enjoy auditioning! Best point is to relax and enjoy it regardless of the outcome!
NTG: When did you start acting?
SM: I started out singing and acting in high school plays and enjoyed the creative outlet it gave me.
NTG: What was your favorite role you’ve played?
SM: Zahara on CBS’s pilot “Reckless”
NTG: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do or learn to prepare for a role?
SM: The hardest thing was learning to use a gun. It was for a commercial for the government after 9/11.
NTG: Who would you most want to work with, alive or dead?
SM: Cary Grant, Gary Sinise, or Katharine Hepburn.
NTG: What is the hardest role you’ve done? What did you learn from it?
SM: That again would be Zahara. I learned what it takes to loose myself for the sake of the character.
NTG: What was your first professional project?
SM: A training video for Suntrust Bank.
NTG: How do you deal with rejection?
SM: Feel the disappointment for a minute, avoid second guessing and focus on the next one! And sometimes have ice cream.
NTG: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show or movie?
SM: Binger on “Sex and the City.”
NTG: What have you found to be the most important to the survival and longevity of your career?
SM: Fill myself up with other outlets and be around good people.
NTG: You are currently working on a passion project with a very strong message regarding an issue that our world is really struggling with. Can you tell us a little about that?
SM: Of course...it is based on my experiences and observations after 9/11 as an Arab American and my surprise at how little people know about who the Arab people and culture are and also the effects of unhealed trauma. It was amazing to me how easy it becomes for society to ostracize a group of people, judge, generalize, and not think twice about the pain we are inflicting in its wake. It started out as a documentary and has been recreated as a short film.
NTG: What do you hope to accomplish with it? The message you want people to understand?
SM: All people are worthy of identity, and honor. These traits we offer take away nothing from us and can be the difference to how another reacts to their world or how they themselves grow. It can be difference between creative choices or destructive ones in our world especially for children growing up in on-going trauma and war. Nothing is born in a vacuum, neither hate nor love. We cannot as a society pretend to wash our hands of our responsibility of all the outcomes we see unfolding in this world.
NTG: You're going to be submitting this for some of the world's top festivals. When will you know if your film gets chosen?
SM: My goal is to submit to as many film festivals as I can. Cannes, Sundance and World Peace festivals are among them. When I'm accepted, I'll announce on social media. I also would like to play it at the one-year anniversary of the Orlando shooting because our last day of filming was the day it happened.
NTG: When can we watch it?
SM: I will announce that as soon as we can!
NTG: We shall wait with baited breath! Do you have any other projects coming up that people can catch you on?
SM: Yes! I will be appearing in the highly anticipated Netflix series, “Stranger Things”, which is being released on September 8th!
NTG: Salem, thank you for taking the time. We can't wait to see all you will accomplish in New York!